'What Does June 6th Mean to You?'
Something very different than what it means to Google, apparently. Here's what that preeminent search engine is running on its homepage today:
As a Website called Search Engine Roundtable quips in its headline, "D-Day vs The First Drive-In Theater? Google Picks Theater."
At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin looks back at D-Day on its 68th anniversary and writes:
Thus today, like many others of my generation — the sons and daughters of that “greatest generation” — my thoughts turn to the invasion of Normandy and of those who played great parts in that drama as well as those who assumed small but by no means unimportant roles such as my own father, a member of the U.S. 8th Air Force.
But to the geniuses who run Google, that juggernaut that is part of the lifeblood of our commerce and culture, June 6th does not summon up thoughts of that famous “Longest Day” when American, British and other Allied troops stormed Hitler’s Fortress Europe. It is, instead, the anniversary of the first drive-in movie that apparently opened its doors on June 6, 1933. It is that event that is noted today in the Google Doodle on the ubiquitous search page that is as much the public square of the contemporary world as anything else you can name. While one must attribute this curious choice to the passage of time and the sea change in our culture, it also says something not particularly flattering about both the computer nerds at Google and the majority of the population whose attitudes they surely reflect.
Which apparently includes the president -- "Obama Ignores D-Day Anniversary," Bryan Preston notes at the Tatler:
Today is June 6, the 68th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. Where is your president? He passed through Joint Base Andrews en route to attend four campaign events. Add the vice president’s lone line item in today’s schedule, which is also a campaign event in substance, and the administration’s top two are taking no note whatsoever of one of the greatest and most dangerous days in American history. See the president’s full schedule below.
Back in 2009, Rich Lowry attempted to explore the mindset of a president who would snub the fall of the Berlin Wall:
Obama's failure to go to Berlin is the most telling nonevent of his presidency. It's hard to imagine any other American president eschewing the occasion. Only Obama - with his dismissive view of the Cold War as a relic distorting our thinking and his attenuated commitment to America's exceptional role in the world - would spurn German president Angela Merkel's invitation to attend.
Obama famously made a speech in Berlin during last year's campaign, but at an event devoted to celebrating himself as the apotheosis of world hopefulness. He said of 1989, "a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one."
The line was typical Obama verbal soufflé, soaring but vulnerable to collapse upon the slightest jostling from logic or historical fact. The wall came down only after the free world resolutely stood against the Communist bloc. Rather than a warm-and-fuzzy exercise in global understanding, the Cold War was another iteration of the 20th century's long war between totalitarianism and Western liberalism. The West prevailed on the back of American strength.
But Obama doesn't think in such antiquated, triumphalist terms. Given to apologizing for his nation abroad, he resolutely downplays American leadership. "President Obama is applying the same tools to international diplomacy that he used as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side," the Washington Post notes, approaching "the world as a community of nations, more alike than different in outlook and interest." To the extent that the Cold War doesn't fit this unbelievably naïve worldview, it's an intellectual inconvenience.
Wouldn't Obama at least want to take the occasion to celebrate freedom and human rights - those most cherished liberal values? Not necessarily. He has mostly jettisoned them as foreign-policy goals in favor of a misbegotten realism that soft-pedals the crimes of nasty regimes around the world. During the Cold War, we undermined our enemies by shining a bright light on their repression. In Berlin, JFK called out the Communists on their "offense against humanity." Obama would utter such a phrase only with the greatest trepidation, lest it undermine a future opportunity for dialogue.
Presumably, the same transnational mindset that would ignore the history of the Cold War would apply a similar rationale towards avoiding a key moment in winning the war that directly preceded it.* From that ahistoric point of view, Obama and his supporters at Google are remarkably well matched.
* At least until the EU recently decided to retcon WWII into "The European Civil War."